The Week's Features
Are you required to take the customer with you?
Craig's Towing will put the money towards payroll to save jobs
It definitely gives one cause to move over
New initiative raised $63,125 as of June 2
Tire designed to improved traction, fuel efficiency and wear life
Events
Cleveland, OH.
Aug. 19-22, 2020
Las Vegas, NV.
Sept 9-12, 2020
San Antonio, TX.
Oct. 16-18, 2020
Baltimore, MD.
Nov. 19-22, 2020
Dates for Cleveland, Las Vegas, and San Antonio shows moved forward to August, September and October
American Towman Magazine Presents the Week in Towing June 03 - June 09, 2020

Lender: Subprime Car Buyers Skipping Payments

In a statement that could have future implications for the repossession industry, Credit Acceptance Corp. warned it’s seeing a sharp drop-off in payments as people shift their financial priorities to get through the coronavirus pandemic.

As unemployment soars, borrowers are putting off payments or “reallocating resources,” the subprime lender said in a regulatory filing April 20. New lending is also slowing as dealerships across the U.S. are forced to shutter their lots, the company said.

“A continued disruption in our workforce, decrease in collections from our consumers or decline in consumer loan assignments could cause a material adverse effect on our financial position, liquidity and results of operations,” the company wrote.

The firm is among the first to report an uptick in delinquencies as some lenders offer forbearance, hoping that what consumers need is time to get through the pandemic so they can resume payments. 

Source: bloomberg.com.


Click here to read more

Wisconsin Towman Struck by Semi on I-94

A freeway service tower who had pulled over to remove a turtle from the roadway on I-94 near 7 Mile Road just south of Milwaukee County was struck and killed by a hit-and-run driver May 29.

Officials say his freeway service truck was traveling northbound when the towman, identified by the Wisconsin Towing Association as Ramon Antonio Echeverria Loza of Grube's Towing Service, stopped, with lights activated, to remove the turtle.

While the driver was outside of the service truck on the shoulder of the roadway, he was struck by a passing semitrailer unit; the truck and driver were later located in Ripon.

“Our thoughts and our prayers go out to his family, friends and co-workers at Grube's Towing Service,” a statement by the WTA read. “Please keep spreading the important message about moving over and slowing down. Everyone deserves to go home.”

The Wisconsin State Patrol is investigating.

Source: fox6now.com; WTA.
Wisconsin towman Ramon Antonio Echeverria Loza was struck and killed by a semi when he tried to remove a turtle on I-94 in Milwaukee County.
Inside Interstate: Top Tow Boss Shares His Story of Building Success in a Tough Market
Don't Miss It!
Are your business’s day-to-day actions best guided by an Employee Handbook? Without a solid set of written guidelines, activity is nothing more than orchestrated chaos. American Towman Operations Editor Randall C. Resch’s seminar, “The Value of a Solid PPM Manual,” will give emphasis to nonspecific and uncommon employee situations not typically covered in HR manuals for towing and recovery. This seminar will take place during Tow Industry Week at its new location, the Westgate Paradise & Pavilion in Las Vegas, Nevada, Sept. 9-12, 2020. atshowplace.com

towmangames.com

Chinese Take Out In Wyoming

0 b0f9eby Jim “Buck’ Sorrenti

Brothers Dale Sheridan Norberg, Jr. and Shawn Michael Norberg manage and operate Norberg's Towing Service in Green River, Wyoming, the family business their father Dale Sheridan Sr. and mother Elaine established in 1967.

On April 2, 2020 the Wyoming Highway Patrol called Norberg’s to respond to a jackknifed tractor-trailer up on Bitter Creek.

Shawn responded to Bitter Creek in “The Eagle.” This old reliable rig is a 1998 Freightliner FL112 with a Don Hines bed that the Norberg’s mounted themselves and a Zacklift.

When he arrived and saw the situation and received the information on how the semi wrecked he just couldn’t believe it.

Shawn explained, “I always seem to get the crazy jobs and have become used to some strange things, but this was one of those things that make you scratch your head. Here we are in the midst of the COVID-19 virus and this rig was being driven by a Chinese driver hauling a reefer load of Chinese food from New York. You just can’t make this sh-- up.

“On top of that, this rigged didn’t just jackknife in the normal sense. As it was jackknifing, the fifth wheel gave way releasing the trailer; but the tractor stayed upright on its wheels and actually wound up turning around and crashing into the trailer it was hauling. Some of the load was on the ground all around the busted trailer, with most of it still in the reefer.”

After accessing the situation Shawn decided his first order of business was to save what was left of the load and to rig the tractor for transport back to his yard and return the next day.

“I called for our refer trailer,” Shawn said, “which Mike from Jensen Trucking brought out to the scene so we could transfer the salvageable load to it. I used the Eagle to bring the truck back to our yard, while our crew transferred the load to our refer. We made plans to go back the next morning with the other equipment needed to finish the job.”

The next day, Sheridan responded to the scene in Big Orange, their 1983 Pete with a 750 Holmes built by Moeller Brothers in the 70s. Shawn returned with The Eagle and his dump trailer and the crew to clean-up the mess of Chinese food that was scattered on the ground.

Shawn informed, “I responded back with our dump trailer to get the garbage off the ground the next day. We used Eagle and Big Orange to recover trailer, that was broken almost broke in half. We chained and strapped it before I used Eagle to set it up and tow it to town. We were bout 60 miles from our office on bad roads.”

Show Yours @ TIW
Do you have a recovery to share with TIW readers? Send some pics and info to our Field Editor Jim “Buck” Sorrenti at jimchaos69@yahoo.com; your story may even be selected for print in American Towman magazine!

You Would Think …

As racially sensitive as the country is right now, one would think that better judgement would be used than to further inflame tensions. However, two incidents occurred in the last two weeks that indicated that this is not so.

In one, the towman was the hero. In the other, not so much.

A towman who was making a delivery to a service station noticed something startling in one of its windows.

There, in plain sight, was a doll of apparent African descent hanging from a noose. The towman confronted the service station owner; and after making others aware on social media of the offensive display, elicited a public apology from the owner.

In the second, a towman posted a picture of the recently deceased George Floyd, captioning it in all capital letters, “YOU’RE TELLING ME THIS (ETHNIC SLUR) COULDN’T BREATHE?” Realizing the error of his ways, the tow company owner also offered a public apology which was printed in the local paper.

If this society is to move forward we have got to do a much better job in interpersonal relations—especially with those we don’t know. Divisiveness truly shouldn’t have a place in society.

We don’t succeed that way.

--Charles Duke

Custer’s Wireless 23″ Light-Duty Tow Light

LIW f8c88Custer Products’ durable 23″ wireless tow light bar was designed for light and medium tows. Individually serialized to eliminate crosstalk, it comes with two 105-lbs. pull rubber coated magnets and separate turn signal lights which meet several states’ DOT requirements. Come see all that Custer Products has to offer at The Towman Games, August 19-22, 2020 at the Huntington Convention Center in Cleveland, Ohio.

www.custerproducts.com
By Don Lomax
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How much did your business increase in May?
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Editor: Charles Duke
Managing Editor: Brendan Dooley
Media Director: William Burwell
ATTV Editor & Anchor: Emily Oz
Advertising Sales (800-732-3869):
Dennie Ortiz x213, Ellen Rosengart x203,
William Burwell x208, Peggy Calabrese x202
Content Management: Henri Calitri
Site Progr., Graphics & Video: Ryan Oser
ATTV Technical Production: OMG National
Wrecks + Recovery Editor: Jim "Buck" Sorrenti
Operations Editor: Randall C. Resch
Tow Business Editor: Brian J. Riker
Tow Illustrated Editor: George L. Nitti
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June 03 - June 09, 2020
Dennis Stastka and his wife Joan opened Stastka Insurance Agency in Robertsdale, Alabama, in June, 2000 and will celebrate 20 years with an Open House on June 9 with the Central Baldwin Chamber of Commerce. Image - gulfcoastnewstoday.com.

Stastka Insurance Celebrating 20 Years with Open House

Stastka Insurance Agency Inc. of Robertsdale, Alabama, will celebrate 20 years of service on Tuesday, June 9, hosting a Business After Hours with the Central Baldwin Chamber of Commerce. The event will be held from 5 to 6:15 p.m. and will include food, networking and door prizes. The event will be held outdoors under a tent with limited indoor access to ensure proper social distancing. Stastka Insurance insures tow truck drivers in three states, Alabama, Florida and Mississippi. Dennis Stastka and his wife Joan opened Stastka Insurance Agency Inc. on June 1, 2000. “My sweet wife encouraged me to step out in faith and start our own agency after having worked for others,” Dennis said. “We have been life partners in marriage for over 47 years and now we’ve been business partners for 20 years this June.” Source: gulfcoastnewstoday.com.

Hino Trucks Announces ‘Ultimate Confidence’ Initiative

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Hino is introducing the Ultimate Confidence Initiative designed to strengthen and support their customers’ businesses. The initiative will include: no payments and no interest until January 2021 (available on all new Hino models and subject to credit approval on applications made by August 31); all required maintenance will be covered in 2020 through December 31, and; customers with a HinoCare preventive service care program on their current cabover trucks or that purchased for their conventional trucks (258, 268, 338, L6, L7 models), will have a 90-day extension added to the end date of their services. “The COVID-19 situation has resulted in unprecedented financial challenges to our customers’ livelihoods and Hino is pleased to offer positive changes that effect their bottom line,” said Glenn Ellis, Sr. Vice President of Customer Experience. Source: hino.com.

Tow Truck Blocks Runaway Attempt in Theft

An alleged shoplifting at Dollar General in Groves, Texas, ended up with two Orange County suspects charged with evading arrest. Police said a male and female entered the store Monday and ended up attempting to steal less than $100 of groceries. A tow truck driver from Brian’s Wrecker Service saw the pair as they placed items in the back of a car and positioned his truck to block the car from leaving, Groves Lt. Robert Phillips said. A male in the car was able to leave at a high rate of speed despite the help from the wrecker driver. He has not been identified and his part in the crime is under investigation. The duo left behind fled on foot, and the stolen items were recovered, Phillips said. Approximately 90 minutes later, officers located two suspects a quarter mile from the store. Groves Police arrested the suspects, Carlton Wolfford and Jacienda Jones. Source: panews.com.
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June 03 - June 09, 2020
Sue Redenbaugh, co-owner of Craig's Towing & Repair of La Crosse, Wisconsin, was one of 42 businesses in the city to receive emergency relief grants. A total of $168,200 was awarded to 42 small businesses in the city. Image - wxow.com.

Towing Company Receives [b]Relief Grant

Craig's Towing & Repair of La Crosse, Wisconsin, and 41 other small businesses received a second round of emergency relief grants through the city. La Crosse accepted the application after they received more money from the Common Council and the CARES Act to award a second round of small business relief grants.

Craig's Towing co-owner Sue Redenbaugh said they will put the money towards payroll so no one loses their job.

"It was challenging because money wasn't coming in like normal to pay people," she said. "But I tried to keep their families going as much as I could so they didn't have to go through unemployment."

According to a press release from the city, $168,200 was awarded to 42 small businesses and saved 372 local jobs.

Source: wxow.com.

Soldier Gets Send-Off Parade

Andy's Towing of St. Cloud, Minnesota, organized a going away parade for one of their workers who's getting deployed overseas.

The tow company brought more than two dozen vehicles to drive by Thomas Schwinghammer's home in St. Joseph on May 28.

Thomas had no idea the parade of police cars, tow trucks and other vehicles were coming by his home.


"It's crazy. I didn't expect it at all. I'm trying not to tear up right now to be honest because I don't see stuff like this every day,” he said. “It's awesome. I'm shaking."

He's been working at Andy's Towing for around six months, and his coworkers say they love him and he is family. Thomas says he feels the same.

"From the day I started there, they've always been great to me. A great company to work for and the fact that they're doing this for me is just breathtaking. This is great. I love it. I have to thank them and everyone who put this together. This is just awesome."

The towing company says they wanted to do something for Thomas because traditional send-off ceremonies for soldiers have been suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Source: knsiradio.com.

Mitsubishi Fuso to Discontinue [b]New Truck Sales in U.S., Canada

Mitsubishi Fuso Truck of America announced that it will discontinue new truck sales in the United States and Canada. A press release from the company stated that Mitsubishi Fuso’s focus will shift to a service-focused operation in these markets.

The company plans for Fuso customers in the United States and Canada to remain supported through an authorized Fuso service network for warranty repairs, maintenance services, and replacement parts until 2028. Mitsubishi will continue to support the eCanter all-electric trucks that are in operation in the United States under the terms of each customer’s respective special lease.

“Working with FUSO dealers, we have developed a strong team throughout the United States and Canada that always places the customer first,” said Justin Palmer, president and CEO, Mitsubishi Fuso Truck of America, Inc. “MFTA is fully dedicated to making this transition a smooth one for our customers, and we remain committed in supporting a parts and service network for many years to come.”

Source: daimler.com.

Billings First Responders [b]Light Up for 2020 Grads

It's been a different end of school for this year's senior classes, but tow truck drivers in Billings, Montana, organized a special celebration for them May 29.

Light Up for Grads 2020 brought first responders, which includes tow truck drivers, to the Rims overlooking Billings.

Tow truck drivers, law enforcement, firefighters and ambulance workers joined the festivities to honor the classes of 2020.

With distancing and limitations at graduations, this is a way to support the graduates, organizers said.

"With lockdowns and closures and things, a lot of graduates didn't really get graduation parties," said Kris Moore, Thin Line Towing & Recovery owner. "And we know that the graduation ceremonies (couldn’t be attended by) a lot of people. So we want to come out and show some support for grads and let them know we're thinking about them. And lining up out here put on a good show. All the lights get you kind of excited. Try to make their graduation season a little bit better."

During the COVID-19 stay-at-home order, the Yellowstone Valley Tow Truck Association also put together parades for nurses and for birthday parties.

Source: ktvq.com.

North Carolina AG [b]Sues Tow Company

North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein announced late last week that he has filed a lawsuit against Charlotte-based A1 Towing Solutions Inc. and its owner, David Jewel Satterfield, for allegedly violating North Carolina’s price gouging statute and engaging in deceptive trade practices and unfair debt collection practices during the COVID-19 state of emergency in North Carolina, according to a news release.

The lawsuit alleges that the defendants improperly booted or towed trucks that were delivering food, water, bleach, or needed medical supplies during this pandemic and in spite of the trucks’ drivers having the necessary permission of property owners to park their trucks on the property, the release states.

Stein is seeking temporary, preliminary, and permanent injunctive relief against the defendants, as well as restitution for victims, civil penalties, and other relief.

North Carolina’s price gouging law went into effect on March 10 when Gov. Roy Cooper declared a state of emergency in North Carolina in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Source: statesville.com.

Towing Company [b]Under New Ownership

Z&Z Towing in Akron, Colorado, formerly owned and operated by Kyle and Vanessa Zimmerman, is now under the ownership of Tyler and Amanda Wade.

The Wade’s became owners of the towing company April 9 and are currently in the process of changing the name. The couple also owns and operates Stretch’s Body & Restoration and will run the towing company in conjunction with that.

“It’s been Tyler’s dream for many years to run both an auto-body repair shop and a towing company because they go so hand-in-hand,” Amanda said. “This was the perfect opportunity to get our business going in the direction we wanted. We were doing well with just the auto body, but adding the towing portion was the perfect piece to stabilize our family’s future.”

Source: akronnewsreporter.com.
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June 03 - June 09, 2020

Chinese Take Out In Wyoming

0 b0f9eby Jim “Buck’ Sorrenti

Brothers Dale Sheridan Norberg, Jr. and Shawn Michael Norberg manage and operate Norberg's Towing Service in Green River, Wyoming, the family business their father Dale Sheridan Sr. and mother Elaine established in 1967.

On April 2, 2020 the Wyoming Highway Patrol called Norberg’s to respond to a jackknifed tractor-trailer up on Bitter Creek.

Shawn responded to Bitter Creek in “The Eagle.” This old reliable rig is a 1998 Freightliner FL112 with a Don Hines bed that the Norberg’s mounted themselves and a Zacklift.

When he arrived and saw the situation and received the information on how the semi wrecked he just couldn’t believe it.

Shawn explained, “I always seem to get the crazy jobs and have become used to some strange things, but this was one of those things that make you scratch your head. Here we are in the midst of the COVID-19 virus and this rig was being driven by a Chinese driver hauling a reefer load of Chinese food from New York. You just can’t make this sh-- up.

“On top of that, this rigged didn’t just jackknife in the normal sense. As it was jackknifing, the fifth wheel gave way releasing the trailer; but the tractor stayed upright on its wheels and actually wound up turning around and crashing into the trailer it was hauling. Some of the load was on the ground all around the busted trailer, with most of it still in the reefer.”

After accessing the situation Shawn decided his first order of business was to save what was left of the load and to rig the tractor for transport back to his yard and return the next day.

“I called for our refer trailer,” Shawn said, “which Mike from Jensen Trucking brought out to the scene so we could transfer the salvageable load to it. I used the Eagle to bring the truck back to our yard, while our crew transferred the load to our refer. We made plans to go back the next morning with the other equipment needed to finish the job.”

The next day, Sheridan responded to the scene in Big Orange, their 1983 Pete with a 750 Holmes built by Moeller Brothers in the 70s. Shawn returned with The Eagle and his dump trailer and the crew to clean-up the mess of Chinese food that was scattered on the ground.

Shawn informed, “I responded back with our dump trailer to get the garbage off the ground the next day. We used Eagle and Big Orange to recover trailer, that was broken almost broke in half. We chained and strapped it before I used Eagle to set it up and tow it to town. We were bout 60 miles from our office on bad roads.”

Show Yours @ TIW
Do you have a recovery to share with TIW readers? Send some pics and info to our Field Editor Jim “Buck” Sorrenti at jimchaos69@yahoo.com; your story may even be selected for print in American Towman magazine!

Teamwork Recovery In Iowa

0 105f7By Jim ‘Buck” Sorrenti

On Saturday, March 24, 2018, Dan Cantrell of Cantrell’s Towing and Recovery in Carbon Cliff, Illinois, was contacted by a trucking company to recover one of its reefer units. The trucking company wanted the unit to be recovered without having to remove the 44,000 lbs. of breakfast products.

This accident occurred on the I-80 to I-280 eastbound ramp near Davenport, Iowa, during a heavy snowstorm. The Iowa State Police had a tow ban on all vehicles because it was a safety hazard with the road conditions.

Cantrell assessed the scene and figured the best way to recover the unit was with air cushions. He then contacted Al Scholle from Scholle's Towing and Body Shop to see if they would be willing to assist him with the recovery using their Matjack Jumbo Cushions.

Scholle's Towing and Body Shop, based in Peru, Illinois, is a family-run business that has been serving the Illinois valley area since 1972.

“We were called to assist with our air bags for this rollover,” John Scholle said. “It was agreed we would do the recovery the following morning … after the state lifted the tow ban.

On Sunday morning, Cantrell and his driver Scott responded with their 2001 Kenworth W900/55-ton Jerr-Dan and a 2006 Peterbilt 388/Vulcan V-70 heavy.

“My father, Al Scholle, my two brothers Chris Scholle and Jim Arboit, Skyler Frederick and myself traveled to the scene with our air bag unit, our 1996 Peterblit 378 with an 8808 Challenger 50-ton rotator, and our 1998 Peterbilt 379 with a Holmes 1801 45-ton,” Scholle said.

The recovery team checked the load in the trailer to find it was mostly liquid egg yolk bags and a half dozen skids of frozen egg whites toward the nose of the trailer.

Cantrell backed his Vulcan V-70 down into the ditch where he lifted the rear of the trailer slightly, allowing Scholle’s crew to place a MatJack jumbo cushion in place and two starter bags.

“From there we worked the bags forward placing six Jumbo cushions under the trailer,” said John. “Once there was clearance for straps, Cantrell’s 55-ton Jerr-Dan and our 8808 rotator were rigged to the trailer and his V-70 was previously rigged to the tractor. We then let the bags do their job until at full inflation and then finishing the upright with the trucks.”

The casualty was then towed to Cantrell’s with his V-70. It was there for a short period until the trailer and cargo were picked up and delivered.

“Thanks to Danny from Cantrell's for giving us the call to come help out. With our combined equipment and experience we got the job done. Great teamwork,” said John.

(This article originally appeared in the May 16, 2018 edition of Tow Industry Week)

Show Yours @ TIW
Do you have a recovery to share with TIW readers? Send some pics and info to our Field Editor Jim “Buck” Sorrenti at jimchaos69@yahoo.com; your story may even be selected for print in American Towman magazine!

Towers Big & Small

0 81548By Jim “Buck” Sorrenti

Tri-State Towing and Recovery has locations in Evansville, Indiana, and Henderson, Kentucky, and provides a variety of services. Gary Crawford owns Tri-State, Eric Crawford is the company’s GM and Terry Hailman is the Evansville Manager.

Lance Wayne is a heavy recovery specialist for Tri-State and runs one of their 65-ton NRC sliding rotators. Lance is the proud father of two children, Kinsley, 6, and Luke, who is a 3rd grader. It is not out of the ordinary to see Kinsley and Luke doing a ride-along with Lance in his rotator. With his father’s guidance over the years, Luke has learned how to set up the platform on a rotator, rigging and how to operate the tow trucks.

At 7 a.m. on March 17, 2020, Chris Pyle, the shop manager of Poshard and Sons Trucking in Petersburg, Indiana, called Tri-State. Lance and Luke responded in Tri-State’s 2018 Kenworth T880 with an NRC 50/65 rotator to the coal pile in Petersburg.

Upon arrival they found a tractor upright with a Vantage frameless trailer rolled over on its side with its load of coal mostly spilled.

“Luke and I did our walkaround of the scene and decided where to set the rotator up,” Lance said. “I staged the rotator and Luke started scooping the remaining coal out of the rolled-over trailer. I picked up the cylinder and plate off the tractor and let him drive it off.”

At this point they finished shoveling the body out, then placed the fifth-wheel plate and the cylinder in the trailer while it was still on its side. With the remote, Luke rotated around to put a chain with an 8’ continuous loop around the center pin. He ran an auxiliary line to Lance’s outrigger to a red 12’ continuous strap to the wheels.

Luke set it up and caught the trailer, then they hooked it up and towed it to Ruxer Truck Center body shop in Jasper.

“I couldn’t be prouder of Luke for wanting to follow in my footsteps and one day work alongside of me running his own rotator,” said Lance.

Editor’s Note: To towers and first responders everywhere…

BE SAFE OUT THERE!!!

Show Yours @ TIW

Do you have a recovery to share with TIW readers? Send some pics and info to our Field Editor Jim “Buck” Sorrenti at jimchaos69@yahoo.com; your story may even be selected for print in American Towman magazine!
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NORTHERN - Bronx, NY
$125
(pop. 1,438,159)

SOUTHERN - Charlotte, NC
$85
(pop. 809,958)

EASTERN - Baltimore, MD
$85
(pop. 622,104)

WESTERN - San Jose, CA
$200
(pop. 1,015,785)

Light-Duty nonconsensual tow rates as provided by Police Towers of America.
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June 03 - June 09, 2020

Should the Industry Have a “No Rider” Policy?

NoRidersAllowed 84894By Randall C. Resch

Is it realistic for vehicle owners, drivers and customers to not ride with their crashed or disabled vehicles?

When police officers finish their investigations and the vehicles have been loaded onto a tow truck or carrier, how do you respond when an officer asks you to take the customer off the highway?

Since you’re towing the customer’s car, especially if their car goes to your facility, are you required to take them with you?

Tow trucks, especially larger ones, aren’t low to the pavement like average automobiles. Entering a truck’s cab means the person who attempts to climb into the cab must have physical capability to do so. People with poor eyesight, disability challenges or obesity will have difficulty climbing into the truck under best conditions.

There are two tow operator personalities: those who are helpful and those who aren’t. For the non-helpful tower, they don’t guide or assist a customer into the truck’s cab. The latter offers assistance by verbally providing instructions to the customer as to where grab handles are and offer techniques customers can use to pull themselves into the cab.

In today’s litigious world of lawsuits and phony claims, even the slightest touching made by a tow operator while assisting his/her customer may be unwanted and perceived as an illegal touching.

For these reasons, it’s my company’s policy to not touch anyone entering the tow truck’s cab.

While there are no industry standards to mandate what actions tow operators take in seating their customers, common sense suggests that towers escort their customers to the tow truck’s cab where they remain seated with their seatbelts on. Accordingly, this is the best and safest recommended location for preventing customers from wandering and to put them in a location out of harm’s way. Obviously, doing so means the customer must get into the tow truck.

In a written policy by the Deep South Insurance Co. entitled, “Tow Truck Operators Non Business Related Passenger Ride Along Policy,” it states:

“Any person operating a commercial vehicle for (towing company) must meet and understand the following policy: In an effort to reduce the organization’s liability exposure and to help ensure the safe operation of company vehicles, we at (insert name of company) are implementing a written company policy that prohibits any unauthorized passengers from riding in the company's vehicles.

“Only approved passengers as described in the company policy are allowed to be transported at any time which essentially means, ‘non-business related passengers,’ to include family members, friends, etc. The company also prohibits picking up any hitch-hikers and giving rides under any circumstances other than customers whose vehicles are being towed.”

I believe that allowing customers to ride in a tow truck is simply a lawsuit waiting to happen. It’s expected that we towers continue the practice as it’s been the standard for years. However, the process of providing free rides to our customers has morphed into a debatable practice where frivolous slip-and-fall lawsuits (or other allegations) are on the rise.

I personally think the industry should adopt and practice a “No Rider” policy in the best interests of tow companies, noting that, tow trucks aren’t taxi cabs or limo services. We don’t get paid for those services and we’re open to blame and liability. A “No Rider” policy also removes the potential of a female customer claiming she was aggressively groped while in-transit.

So, let’s throw this topic at the feet of the insurance industry that make policy. To this I’ll note when high-dollar lawsuits are levied against tow companies, most cases are settled out-of-court where the plaintiffs receive award. Ultimately, the costs of paying these frivolous lawsuits get passed to tow business owners.

Author’s Note: Tow owners should consult their insurance providers to know if a no-rider policy exists in their policy. This narrative is provided as a basis of training only and is not an attempt to provide legal advice.

Randall Resch is American Towman's and Tow Industry Week’s Operations Editor, a former California police officer, tow business owner and retired civilian off-road instructor for Navy Special Warfare. Randall is an approved instructor for towers serving the California Highway Patrol's rotation contract. His course is approved by the California law enforcement community. He has written over 500 industry-related articles for print and on-line, is a member of the International Towing & Recovery Hall of Fame, and, a recipient of the 2017 Dave Jones Leadership Award.






















FMCSA Issues Final Rule on HOS Changes

TowingImage 4515aBy Brian J. Riker

The hard-fought and long-awaited revisions to the hours of service for U.S. interstate drivers of property-carrying commercial motor vehicles have finally been released to the public. Most towing companies, by strict application of the definition of interstate commerce, fall under these regulations and not state hours of service regulations.

Although the FMCSA hasn’t published these rules in the Federal Register as of press time, they have indicated they plan to do so this week. Once published, there will be a 60-day public comment period and then the final rule will take effect 60 days after that. By early October, the new rules should be in effect.

The key issue for the towing industry is our on-call 24/7 nature and the shortage of qualified workers vs. the very limited emergency service exemption to the HOS rules. This makes the perfect storm where a tow boss is often called upon to respond immediately, even when the HOS rules may not allow them to do so.

Although the final rule has neither a towing-specific exemption nor the extreme flexibility we enjoyed prior to 2004, it is a step in the right direction.

The key change that will most impact the towing industry is the expansion of the short-haul provision for drivers of vehicles requiring a CDL to 14 hours, and 150 air-miles radius from their work reporting location. This will harmonize the regulation with the short-haul exception already enjoyed by drivers of trucks that do not require a CDL.

The other change beneficial to the towing industry is to the 30-minute break provision. Currently drivers must take a 30-minute period of off-duty time before driving after the eighth hour since their last break of 30 or more minutes. The new rule only requires an interruption to continuous driving of eight hours or more. On-duty activity such as loading or fueling can count as the 30-minute break. This is a huge benefit for the towing industry with the amount of activity other than driving a tower typically does in a shift.

The FMCSA also modified the adverse driving conditions provision to allow for up to 13 hours of driving time in a 16-hour window, up from the previous 11 hours of drive time in a 16-hour window. What this means is a surprise storm, truly unexpected traffic delays (such as from a crash) or other unforeseen conditions will not force a driver to attempt to push through or speed to cover the miles within the 11 hours of drive time. Instead, they will have an additional two hours to drive, allowing them to relax and slow down a bit for safety.

The last change pertains to drivers that use sleeper berths. The new rule will allow a driver to effectively “pause” their 14-hour clock for up to three hours by splitting their 10-hour rest period into any combination of at least seven hours in the sleeper combined with a later period of up to three hours off-duty (to make 10 total).

Neither of these periods will count against the 14-hour clock, which in effect allows for a pause and up to a 17-hour duty cycle in any 24-hour period. It is worth noting the longer period must be in a sleeper berth, so if your truck does not have a sleeper you can’t use this split or “pause.”

Although not perfect, this final rule from the FMCSA shows they’ve listened to the industry for the past few years and are working to make the regulations we must operate under more manageable.

Brian J Riker is a third generation towman and President of Fleet Compliance Solutions, LLC and is a contributing writer to American Towman Magazine and Tow Industry Week. He specializes in helping non-traditional fleets such as towing, repossession, and construction companies navigate the complex world of Federal and State transportation regulatory compliance. With 25 years of experience in the ditch as a tow operator Brian truly understands the unique needs and challenges faced by towing companies today. He can be reached at: yourdotguy.com.

A “Not So Funny” Wheel and Tire Story

Changingaflat 44277By Randall C. Resch

I oftentimes look back to the days of towing before flatbed carriers formally arrived. In the early 1970s, I was a fledgling tow truck driver working for a small San Diego tow company near downtown and the beach areas.

Because I was driving a clunky, smoky, 1952 Aston Martin DB2 drophead coupe, I learned a valuable lesson about removing and replacing Boranni spin-on, spin-off axle caps. As said in classic car forums, “Boranni wire wheels were the sexiest wheels of all time.”

Without knowing it then, the mechanical process of removing Boranni wheels was simple; smack the spinner with a soft-headed brass hammer and repeat the ditty of, “righty-tighty, lefty-loosey,” so to remove the spinner. Changing tires was the easy part of learning, but sling towing the car from its rear bumper would prove to be a harder lesson to learn.

At some point in my “going to school routine,” my $1,500 beater Aston overheated and needed to be towed from where it broke down. My old boss Mike was a really great employer and allowed me to go get the car after my workday was complete. After 5 p.m., I headed to its location in my wrecker, a newer Ford F-600/Holmes twin-line 500 sling truck.

Having been a tow truck driver a whopping three years, I competently attached the sling to the Aston’s undersides and headed to the yard. So, what’s the problem? While en route, I hadn’t yet learned that “righty-tighty” was true for towing cars outfitted with spinners backwards. As I towed the Aston forward, the Boranni caps unscrewed causing both tires and rims to eject. One stayed within the front wheel wells while the other headed down the street. Damage was minimal, but I was mortified nonetheless.

Tire Changes with a Twist

What is tow company liability when towers accept tire changes for motor clubs and other providers?

Christine and I drove I-5 toward San Diego’s downtown on one of those incredible summer days common to Southern California. Due to the holiday, there was moderate to heavy traffic; in front of us, a slow-moving convoy of fully restored low riders. One of the Chevys lost its rear tire and wheel and bounded across four lanes of traffic. Luckily, the tire and wheel stopped against the K-rail.

If tow companies work to remove a driveshaft and not replace it due to potential liability, why do tow companies change flat tires and accept liability to replace it? As in removing a driveshaft, the lug nuts have to be removed as well as removing the lugs on any conventional wheel hub. Is the liability any different?

I often think about that day I caused operator-inflicted damage to my own car. The sad truth was it became painfully clear that I didn’t know what I was doing at the time. As for the Aston Martin, it’s long been gone and I kick myself in the backside knowing that Hagerty.com estimates a vintage ’52 Aston to be valued somewhere around $250,000. I guess it’s fair to say I wasn’t too bright; now all I have left are my memories.

In keeping with the late Dave Lambert’s “Tow First” theory, would conducting tire changes be a reasonable process in protecting a company’s assets and responding operator safety? If a tow company changes a tire and it comes off once the customer’s departed the scene, someone's certainly gonna pay for any resulting damages or be responsible for an accidental injury or unfortunate death. Stranger things have happened, right?

So, for the sake of argument, should flat tire calls be "transport only,” where the motorist’s vehicle is towed or transported to a tire repair facility?

What’s your take?

Randall Resch is American Towman's and Tow Industry Week’s Operations Editor, a former California police officer, tow business owner and retired civilian off-road instructor for Navy Special Warfare. Randall is an approved instructor for towers serving the California Highway Patrol's rotation contract. His course is approved by the California law enforcement community. He has written over 500 industry-related articles for print and on-line, is a member of the International Towing & Recovery Hall of Fame, and, a recipient of the 2017 Dave Jones Leadership Award.











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June 03 - June 09, 2020

The Jaws of a Tow Truck

0 db328By George L. Nitti

Tow companies proliferate in the Philadelphia metropolitan region, vying for work as the vast network of busy roads keeps the competition bristling.

Perhaps fierce competition breeds fiercer looking trucks.

Paul’s Towing, located in Sewell, New Jersey, is a case in point. With their graphic powerhouse, a Kenworth T300/2011 Century 4024, this unit won first place in the Working Class during the American Wrecker Pageant at last year’s American Towman Exposition in Atlantic City.

One of its most defining and unforgettable features is the ferocious depiction of teeth front and center on the front bumper.

“My sister started the teeth idea,” recalled owner Paul Irrgang, “as she had them on her flatbed. I wanted to create an image of something coming at you.”

It’s akin to how the shark from “Jaws” leaves a lasting impression; surely it gives one cause to move over.

“The graphics were done by Killer Kreations,” said Irrgang. “All of it is custom painted, taking over a-month-and-a-half to execute.”

Adding to the unit’s ferocity are the large, convincing red dragons at the back end of each side of the wrecker.

Irrgang said, “I was going for something that was timeless, something dramatic—but not out of date.”

That timeless feel includes the unit’s colorfully coordinated flames, blending yellow, orange, silver, black and maroon.

“I handed over the project to Killer Kreations and they did their thing,” Irrgang said. “People love and admire it.”

The design would not be complete without the company name styled diagonally through the center of the unit. It truly stands out in bold thick lettering, filled with a textured silver background.

An important final, yet human touch is a lifelike portrait of Irrgang’s father residing on the unit’s cab where it is written “Never Forgotten.”

“My father started the business in ’68,” Irrgang said. “It’s on its third generation as my son is now involved in the business.”

Brag @ TIW!
Should your truck be featured here? Send a few pics and your contact information to the editor at bdooley@towman.com. You might even be selected to go in print, too, in American Towman magazine.

Going ‘Big’ in Texas

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By George L. Nitti

In Texas, everyone knows that size counts. Everything’s “bigger in Texas,” and that includes the size of the graphics one might find on a tow truck.

Drawing on this quintessential Texas idiom is Speedway Towing in Whitney, with its oversized logo on their 1998 Kenworth T300 chassis with a 20-ton Century 4024 body.

For a tow truck, going “big” ensures that it’s spotted from afar. In large orange/neon reflective lettering, the name Speedway can’t be mistaken or missed as it pops out due to its sheer size.

“We wrapped it real big as I was going for that Texas ‘theme,’ ” said Speedway owner Jerry Moore. “The wrap was done by 517 Designs, one of our local businesses which I like to support. I wanted to make sure that our name stood out.”

Under the Speedway lettering, the word “Towing” stands out composed of a diamond-plated gray-themed design with a shadow of reflective neon, giving it pop and contrast.

The racing stripes next to the Texas-sized lettering correspond with the company name. Adding more flavor, the unit’s predominantly red, white and blue colors stand out; as does the state flag, where its lone white star shines through as a background to the lettering.

“When we go up to Dallas and Fort Worth,” Moore said, “people take pictures of it all of the time. Also, at Lake Whitney, the getaway capital of Texas where we are three miles away, it draws attention. In the summer there is quite of bit of tourism and weekenders that keep us busy.”

(This article originally appeared in the August 23, 2017 edition of Tow Industry Week.)

Brag @ TIW!

Should your truck be featured here? Send a few pics and your contact information to the editor at bdooley@towman.com. You might even be selected to go in print, too, in American Towman magazine!

Fighting On

0 86762By George L. Nitti

One of the keys to any successful business is to know your customers and give them what they want—sometimes even mirroring their tastes and culture.

AJ’s Complete Auto Repair & Towing of Fairborn, Ohio, aims to please their large customer base of Air Force clientele.

“We are right across the street from Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and have a lot of military customers,” said Jim Ashbrook, AJ’s owner.

This tow company of five tow trucks has orchestrated a couple of patriotic-themed wraps; one being their 2014 Dodge Ram 5500 with a Jerr-Dan 19.5’ aluminum bed.

At the heart of the design are the characteristic stars and stripes, emblematic of many patriotic-themed wraps. On this one, red and white stripes cover the hood while a row of blue and white stars are aligned along the unit’s front side.

A Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor takes flight in the design in honor of the neighboring Airmen.

“Select Signs did the wrap,” said Ashbrook. “The guy who designed it recommended the plane, and I confirmed it with a friend of mine who is in the Air Force and we went with it.”

Behind the Raptor is a tear effect, with heavy steel undergirding the image and diamond plates adding to the overall effect of hardcore machinery.

“Our customers love the truck,” said Ashbook.

AJ’s company name also stands out next to the Raptor and over the metal cutout, as does the phone number.

Ashbook said, “The ‘A’ stands for ‘Angel,’ who is my wife and partner.”

The company was started 20 years ago as an auto repair shop, eventually branching out several years later into towing.

Though the coronavirus has temporarily upended life as we know it, AJ’s fights on as Memorial Day serves as another reminder to honor our brave military men and women.

Brag @ TIW! 
Should your truck be featured here? Send a few pics and your contact information to the editor at bdooley@towman.com. You might even be selected to go in print, too, in American Towman magazine! 
 
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June 03 - June 09, 2020

Toyo Tires NanoEnergy Super Regional Drive Tire

5ToyoM671 a652aToyo Tire USA’s NanoEnergy M671 super regional drive tire provides improved traction, fuel efficiency and wear life developed through the company’s proprietary Nano Balance Technology. The M671 also incorporates Toyo Tire’s advanced e-balance design, which maintains the tread profile of the tire while reducing strain at the bead area and belt edge for greater stability and longevity under heavy loads. The NanoEnergy M671 super regional drive tire is available in 295/75R22.5 G/14, 11R22.5 G/14 and 11R22.5 H/16.

ToyoTires.com/Commercial

Hot Shot’s Secret Spray & Stay Grease

spray 051b8Hot Shot’s Secret’s new Spray & Stay Grease is an aerosolized synthetic grease that can be sprayed on metal, paint, rubber and plastic without drips or runs to protect moving parts and machinery from sticking or binding. The thick formula makes it easy to spray on vertical surfaces without making a mess; provides long-lasting lubrication and protection while being resistant to water washout. Spray & Stay Grease has an operating temperature range of -80 degrees F to 400 degrees F.

hotshotsecret.com

Access Tools Roadside Service Light

light 1 21ce2Access Tools’ new Roadside Service Light is a multi-purpose portable worklight and emergency hazard indicator for roadside service work and other automotive purposes. The light features a 500 Lumen COB LED and five lighting modes, including high, low, steady red, strobing red and SOS red. The light features an adjustable hanger arm that doubles as a stand; it runs on three AA batteries.

caropeningtools.com
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June 03 - June 09, 2020
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June 03 - June 09, 2020
The American Recovery Association’s Repo Alliance initiative raised $63,125 as of June 2, according to its website.

Industry Positions Itself with Repo Alliance, Whitepaper

The repossession industry is taking swift action to position itself to survive the dire situation intensified by the COVID-19 pandemic.

First, the American Recovery Association started an initiative several weeks ago that’s resulted in the Repo Alliance, a fundraising organization to boost lobbying and other industry promotion efforts.

ARA also composed a seven-page whitepaper aimed at setting uniform operating standards for repossession agencies.

The Repo Alliance is the combination of ARA with the California Association of Licensed Repossessors, Texas Accredited Repossession Professionals and Harding Brooks Insurance.

The alliance spelled out a trio of goals, including: change the negative, reputational image of the recovery industry; educate legislatures of the vital role repossession agents play, and; fight against language in bills or guidance from regulators and lawmakers that could decimate the recovery industry.

While the Repo Alliance is looking to raise money, only a lobbyist is being paid for services rendered. Officials said the rest of the individuals involved in the Repo Alliance are volunteers.

As of June 2, the site indicated $63,125 already had been collected.

Source: autoremarketing.com.

Man Accused of Firing Gunshots at Agents

A Riegelwood, North Carolina, man was accused of shooting at a man and woman who were repossessing a car May 28.

According to the Columbus County Sheriff’s Office, deputies responded to a residence in Riegelwood around 6 a.m. after receiving a report of shots fired.

The victims told deputies they were trying to repossess a Chevrolet Impala when Ronald Allen Keaton, 50, fired an unspecified number of gunshots at them.

Keaton allegedly threatened one of the victims, saying he would “blow his brains out,” according to the sheriff’s office. 

After the confrontation, Keaton reportedly drove away in the car and was later apprehended at a restaurant in Riegelwood.

Deputies searched the vehicle and found a green leafy substance, cocaine, and a digital scale.

Keaton was taken into custody and charged with multiple offenses including two counts of discharging a firearm into an occupied dwelling/vehicle and possession with intent to sell/deliver marijuana.

He was booked in jail under a $30,100 bond.

Source: wect.com.

NAFA IDs Top 8 [b]Collateral-Recovery Challenges

As part of a series appearing in Auto Remarketing Joel Kennedy, president of the National Automotive Finance Association, discussed the top eight challenges facing the collateral recovery industry.

He stated that through his experience, the following were the industry’s primary challenges: lagging repossession, skip, and recovery rates; days to recover are increasing; poor/declining collateral sale proceeds; volume of recoveries and agent management is unmanageable; lack of confidence in managing specialty accounts (such as military, bankruptcy, non-self-help states, and sovereign nation reservations);  loan and payables associated with recovery and sale activities are unmanageable; immature skip and recovery operations, and; managing non-auto recoveries.

As a possible solution to the top eight challenges, Kennedy said that he has seen the value of a more exhaustive outsourcing arrangement for everything from skip through recovery and disposition, representing a change from a previously held opinion.

Source: autoremarketing.com.

Santander Agrees to Pay $550M to [b]Settle Auto-Lending Lawsuit

Santander Consumer USA reached a $550 million agreement to settle charges from 34 attorneys general that it made auto loans it knew low-income and subprime borrowers could not pay.

The lender is set to pay consumers $65 million in restitution. But the bulk of the settlement — $478 million — comes in the form of loan forgiveness. Santander agreed to waive about $45 million in loan balances for consumers who had defaulted as of Dec. 31 but whose cars were not repossessed. Santander will also waive at least $433 million in deficiency balances — the amount consumers owe after their cars are repossessed — although the attorneys general said that figure could be as high as $663 million.

Source: bankingdive.com.
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